I generally purchase my Wisconsin State Parks sticker in January, at the park ranger office on North Shore Drive in Devil’s Lake State Park, while rolling through on my way toward the frozen lake to check on the ice shanties.
This year, I bought it in September.
The ranger suggested a day pass, thinking that might be more suited to someone looking to purchase a year-long park sticker at the beginning of autumn. I told him “no”, that I usually “buy my sticker in January” but “things happen.” We have now been to that particular park three times inside of two weeks. We are thinking of going three times next week just because the leaves are turning so fast. One windy day and everything dry will be gone. I’ve seen it happen before, where the leaves begin to change color and then a good storm comes along, taking much of that year’s brilliant display.
I wondered, driving home today, if the trees were screaming, not in pain, but in an exuberant fury over the upcoming winter’s nap. Or already planning their unfurling upon waking up?
The changing landscape causes a bit of odd melancholy, but it isn’t the shift in color. It is the stretch of years.